As the death toll from Venezuelan opposition protests continues to rise, “The Empire Files” host Abby Martin lashed out at international media for their one-sided portrayal of the violence.
In her latest episode, Martin condemns the coverage of right-wing protesters as “romantic” and insists “there certainly is a right to protest” in Venezuela.
As part of the program, Martin spent three weeks in Caracas and attended both opposition and Chavista demonstrations.
In one opposition demonstration, protesters maneuvered three trucks to block a highway, burnt tires and hurled rocks at security forces. The protesters told her to “only film repression against them, not their actions,” she says.
Given the widespread allegations of government repression, Martin says she “was shocked to learn there were no arrests” during the protest.
These actions include setting up violent roadblocks and riots, known as guarimbas, and attacking public transport and social services buildings, including schools and hospitals.
According to Martin, the opposition consists of “Semi-armed protesters ruling the streets, shutting down as much as they can, using largely violent tactics. They push as far as they can go until security forces respond, then flee.”
Much of this opposition violence has contributed to the death toll. Martin explains of the over 95 deaths, only 23 have been directly linked to state forces, according to the attorney general’s office. Many others have been caused by the opposition.
The safety of journalists has also been jeopardized by the protests, says Martin.
In the report, she lists the shooting of a teleSUR journalist and an incident where a Globovision reporter was doused with gasoline as just a few examples of the dangers faced by members of the press.
Despite the violence, “International human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists have been silent on the attacks on journalists from the opposition,” says Martin.
The episode of “The Empire Files” comes as the United States seeks to pass a bill to provide US$20 million to Venezuelan opposition groups.
Watch the full episode here: